Posted: 02/10/10 20:59
by Dave Mindeman
I sit here and wonder aloud sometimes about how much value there is in elevating Al-Qaeda into a foe that we have mobilized our entire defense structure against. We are fighting them on a par with our enemies in World War II. Really, is that wise?
Al-Qaeda has no homeland or national identification. They live on the run... in caves....in mountainous terrain, with few modern weapons. The biggest danger we face from Al-Qaeda is that they acquire a weapon that already exists from a nuclear nation. It would have to be stolen or given to them or purchased. They, themselves, have no scientists, no ability to develop a nuclear program, no place to keep one.
We have our entire military defense force occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. We have special forces operating in Pakistan. And we spend enormous defense department resources in a defensive posture involving these two nations...one that had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda and another that was merely a safe haven -- a harbor that we are now responsible for and have turned Al-Qaeda sympathizers (the Taliban) into a full fledged enemy.
The entire military industrial complex is draining its vast, deep pocket, resources over a nation (Iraq) that is always on the brink of a civil war (we are merely the available targets), and a country (Afghanistan) that has yet to develop a modern system of transportation or any economic sophistication.
What's wrong with this picture?
Yet, Republicans, yes, Republicans....the party that complains about wasted taxes....the party that complains about too much interference by the government....yes, that party, will call you un-American at the very suggestion that we rethink what we are doing, in any way, shape or form. In fact, their biggest complaint is that we are not doing enough, spending enough, and being fearful enough to properly conduct this "war".
With all the attention that we are heaping upon this rogue element, we are developing the "sympathizers". The people frustrated with US arrogance towards the Muslim world. People who are looked down upon and discriminated against. People who see Al Qaeda fight against the most powerful nation in the world, as an inspiration and a "just" cause.
We have such elements in Minnesota. The head of the FBI warns us that we have such "sympathizers" right here in Minnesota. They look to Al-Qaeda as their model. They see how we elevate these "warriors" into genuine threats -- military equals as it were.
Are we going to find these threats via military engagment? Are we going to need house to house searches? Will we have to occupy territory or torture the captives?
The answer is no. It will take law enforcement techniques. Solid undercover intelligence. Police work. That is the only methodolgy that will uncover this type of sympathizer extremism.
We would do well to divert some of that vast defense department largesse into police department special units. Local police who know the community and can find the sources.
And at some point, we have to quit using fear as a political football. We will probably be attacked again at some point. But all the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are not going to deter that. Quite frankly, they will encourage groups to continue their fight and to sacrifice their lives against the "crusader" who would seek to impose their presence throughout the world.
We need good intelligence, good undercover work, and a realization that we are not going to win this so-called "war" by throwing money at shadows.